Statue of Liberty

Stavanger eventually recovered when the first shipload of emigrants on board a 52 foot sloop, "Resturation" set out from Stavanger to New York. People thought it was pure madness when the 52 emigrants set out from Stavanger harbour July 4, 1825. Like the Pilgrim Fathers from England in the 16th century, the passengers onboard the "Resturation" left their country because of religous oppression. Cleng Peerson, who has been called the pioneer of Norwegian emigration, came from Tysvaer in north of Rogaland. It was Cleng Peerson who encouraged the small group of Quakers to make the 98-day long voyage across the Atlantic to the New World. In the 100 years that followed the voyage of the "Resturation", some 800.000 Norwegians emigrated to the New World. Today there are more people of Norwegian descent in the US than the population of Norway which is currently over four millions. Only Ireland with its tiny population of three million, contributed more emigrants than Norway.

Still, Stavanger people have never been able to afford the luxury of giving despair for long. They found there was a living to be made canning food for the growing shipping industri, so canneries multiplied along the waterfront and in every available shed. Stavanger brisling sardines conquered the world market, 50 millions tins of sardines went out in just one year. Industrial Stavanger became the headquarters of export business and shipping companies dealing with the entire world. During the years of turmoil, the religious life blossomed. Missionaries from Stavanger were sent around the world. However, towards the 19th century there was a growing lay-movement, which has given Stavanger a reportation for being a "chapel town" since the past century. As many as 28 different religous organizations had their premises in the town. It is said that Rogaland`s attitude to religion has been influenced by this region`s many similarities with the Holy Land: Rogalanders are used to guarding flocks of sheep just as in the land of Israel, and they are fishermen as well. Norway is divided into 19 counties (fylker), and Stavanger is located in Rogaland county. The county Council carries on traditions back to the establishment of Local Legislation in 1837. However it was not until 1976 that the county government members were elected directly trough local polls, as the same time as the munipal elections took place.

Link between Rogaland and Liberty.

Most people knows Statue of Liberty, originally called Liberty Enlightening the World, this colossal statue, located in the harbour of New York. The statue symbolizing global freedom is in the form of a woman wearing flowing robes and spiked crown who holds a torch aloft in her right hand and carries in her left a book inscribed "July 4, 1776". The broken chains is symbolizing the overtrow of tyranny lie at her feet. The statue is designed by the French sculptor Frèdèric Bartoldi, and the statue was given by France to the United States to commemorate the centennial of US indepence i 1876.

However only a few people know that the Vinsnes mine, Karmoy in Rogaland at the turn of the century was northern Europes largest mining community, supplied a number of projects with copper, among them the Statue of Liberty. The mines has since been transformed into an attractive museum found at Skudeneshavn.

The statue, formed of copper sheets riveted to an iron framework, is one of the largest in the world. The statue weighs 254 tonnes (250 tons), and it measures 93.5 m (306 ft 8 in) from the bottom of the pedestal to the tip of the torch.

In 1903 the last words in the sonnet "The New Colossus" by poet Emma Lazarus (1883) was inscribed at the main entrance to the pedestal:

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering lims astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-brigded harbor that twin cities frame,
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pom!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddle masses yearning to breath free,
The wrechted refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Michael Holmboe Meyers history-guide of Stavanger.